Anna Hoghton

Anna Hoghton

About Anna Hoghton

Anna is a writer and film maker with a passion for Bristol culture.  This year she has won both the IdeasTap Short Film Fund and the One KX Film School Fund. Her short-film script 'Never Land' won £4000 funding and is being producer this October. She has just finished directing another of her commissioned short film scripts, 'The Grad'. Anna was selected for a six-month mentoring programme with the BBC Bristol called 'Is the BBC for me?' She has spent two-year on BAFTA's fifteen member Youth Board and blogged for the BAFTA Guru website. The Watershed is where Ann's film-making began. She made her first short film 'The Box' with the Watershed's eShed.  It premiered at the Encounters first Young People’s Festival 'Fresh Flix' and went on to win 'best film' in it's category at the FirstLight Awards. Anna enjoys all forms of writing and is always keen to get involved with new projects. In 2013 her poetry was short-listed by the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy for the Lancelot Andrews Poetry Award , and she has had works published in the Department of Health’s Confidential Enquiry ‘Death by Indifference’ and in the anthology ‘Journeys through Fire’. She is currently working in collaboration with theatre-makers and musicians on a project which will be put on in The Vaults, a multi-disciplinary space in the underground world of Waterloo station, in January 2015.

Anna Hoghton's blog

Getting inspired by… Maison Paradiso @ The Arnolfini

As part of Future producers we are lucky enough to be given a small amount of budget each to take research trips for our projects. Here is a quick look at some of the workshops/exhibitions I’ve attended in preparation for the Watershed’s sci-fi Fun Palace: The Mothershed!

Last night a few of the Future Producers (including some from the BFI Sci-fi screenings team) attended Maison Paradiso’s immersive Utopia event on the 5th floor of the Arnolfini.

Maison Paradiso was conceived in early 2014 as a response to many current trends which we found interesting, such as the publics gathering interest in unusual or forgotten spaces, pop up culture, immersive entertainment, crafted food and drinks and flamboyant revelry. We aim to bring together elements of these worlds to create spectacular and memorable experiences


A UTOPIAN themed party experience: Hanging circus starlets as “the birds of paradise”, roaming circus artists and interactive attractions. Late night disco from DJ Suisse Tony, cocktails and much more


There was a pop-up restaurant beforehand but we joined for the party only. It was a thrilling spectacle. From the moment you stepped through the doors you felt that you’d left Bristol (and your own life) altogether. This was helped by the stunning night views across the sparkling city. I never knew such a gem was hidden on the Arnolfini’s top floor, to be honest I never even knew it had a top floor.

The party started slowly, as the dinner guests finished their deserts and joined us in the dance room. There were ballet dancers, hoop swingers and aerialists who floating in-between the party-goers; flowing in and out of their performances with an ease that sparkled with sophistication. The performance moment just seemed to happen. The party-goers would take a break from dancing ferociously to circle round whatever circus event was taking place. It felt like something straight out of Angela Carter. This wasn’t only thanks to the performers; the guest’s costumes were something in themselves. It was a great event to people watch at. Each individual that pinged through the elevator doors seemed to be dressed more flamboyantly than the previous. Forget the magic of Willie Wonka’s glass elevator, Maison Paradiso’s produced leopard-print catsuits, glittering gowns, feathers and sequins galore. It was a fancy-dress delight which oozed bourgeois decandence.


A couple of photos of the Future Producers last night. We were all feeling very underdressed compared to some of the people at the party! In the background you can see a glimpse of the spectacular views over the city I mention above.

Why it was useful for Fun Palace research

As part of The Mothershed we are going to be hosting a ‘Moon Party’ on Saturday 4th October. This will link thematically with the BFI’s chosen film screening of ‘Moon’ on the same evening.It was great to attend Utopia’s ‘dream’ party to see how they used their theme to give the evening a sense of cohesion. They managed to blend their events effectively that you really left feeling satisfied by the experience of the evening.

One way this was achieved was through their strong use of imagery. The ‘rabbit mask’ image was used on their promotional material before the event and during it, when it was projected on the main wall as we arrived and then later ballet-dancers entered wearing these masks. This bestowed the event with a feeling of identity. Such a strong use of symbol was, in my opinion, one of the reasons for the event’s success.

I was also impressed by how Maison Paradiso managed the performances and made them work as part of the party rather than detract from it or jar with it. For our Fun Palace it was good to see how this was achieved as we will also have a lot of different elements working. At the Moon Party there will be UV ping-pong, DJs, Memotone’s interactive set, fancy dress and robots. On the Sunday we’ll have even more going on with panel discussions, competitions and demonstrations. It was good to get an idea of how another event managed so many different elements.

Lighting also played a big role in the mood of the evening. This is something which we’ve been thinking about a lot and I talk about in depth in my blog post on the Raw Shorts events at the BFI. I’ll just say that I felt their use of unusual purple tones worked well in their favour and we’ll definitely think about how lighting carefully for the Mothershed.

And finally, through our conversations with people on the evening and after it, we’ve drummed up more interest in the event and promoted the sense of artistic collaboration and sharing that the Fun Palaces are all about.

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Getting inspired by… Digital Revolution @ The Barbican

As part of Future producers we are lucky enough to be given a small amount of budget each to take research trips for our projects. Here is a quick look at some of the workshops/exhibitions I’ve attended in preparation for the Watershed’s sci-fi Fun Palace: The Mothershed!


Digital Revolution: An immersive exhibition of art, design, film, music and videogames.


Digital Revolution explores and celebrates the transformation of the arts through digital technology since the 1970s. The exhibition brings together for the first time a range of artists, filmmakers, architects, designers, musicians and game developers, who are using digital media to push the boundaries of their fields. The show also looks to the future and considers the impact of creative coding, DIY and maker-culture, digital communities and the creative possibilities offered by augmented reality, artificial intelligence, wearable technologies and 3D printing.


This was such an interesting exhibition. I’d read some pretty uncomplimentary reviews, with one journalist disdainfully describing the video art on display as ‘gimmicky’. Now, I’m by no means an expert on digital and a lot of the computer game nostalgia went over my head – except for the Simms game set up, I spent 10 minutes on this reliving my childhood! However, isn’t ‘gimmicky’ exactly what digital art is meant to be? Isn’t that it’s beauty and success? Why is ‘gimmicky’ used here in a way which is synonymous with bad? Indeed, the majority of the items on display were by no means bad, cheap or unintelligent. It was a wonderful array of what technology has done and what it can do. It was amazing to see how much things have advanced in such a short space of time, from the games themselves and their techniques to the actual computer systems which were used to invent them.

Below I will list of my top 5 sections of the exhibition: (the names are my own invention rather than their official names)

1. The Around the World keyboard


A keyboard which tuned into and played sounds from radio stations across the world at every key-press. These stations were constantly changing, so no note would ever sound the same. You could see which parts of the world were making your (mostly very tuneless) tune in front of you on a virtual map and above you, with the names of the countries appearing by the speakers. Extremely cool.


2. The virtual butterfly wish-maker



Another interactive exhibit where you could speak your ‘wish’ into a microphone and watch it be written on the wall in front of you then transform into a butterfly and join all the other wishes people have made before you. I wished for The Mothershed – of course!

You can see a video of this here: MVI_3257

3. The become-a-bird wall


An absolutely awesome wall which you could stand in front of and see your own body get eaten alive by birds or raise your arms, sprout wings and fly right out of frame. Probably the most ‘gimmicky’ thing there was in the exhibition but I loved it! 

4. The Gravity discussion booth


A great talk on how the effects in the Gravity theme were made through weightless cameras, light boxes and a lot of animation! Really interesting and education for anyone who’s seen the film and wants to find out more. 

5. The Petting Zoo 


Some strangely cut interactive robots which responded to where people were in the room around them and followed your movements. I wanted to take one home. 

How it was useful for ‘The Mothershed’ research: 

I found so much of this exhibition tied in with The Mothershed that it was really reassuring. The exhibition was highly interactive which was what made it interesting. We’re also going to make the Mothershed as interactive as possible. My one criticism of the exhibition was that, whilst there was a lot to interact with individually, it did not create much of a platform for collaborative interaction. This is something we will make sure is central to all The Mothershed’s events. The themes and subjects of the exhibition tied in very well though and it was interesting to see how they’d laid everything out.  They even had a ping-pong table outside…


 It wasn’t UV though, like ours will be – they missed a trick there!

I’d recommend this exhibition to anyone with an interest in digital technology: LED dresses, Robots, Lasers, Pacman… this had it all!

Getting inspired by… Raw Shorts @ The BFI

As part of Future producers we are lucky enough to be given a small amount of budget each to take research trips for our projects. Here is a quick look at some of the workshops I’ve attended in preparation for the Watershed’s sci-fi Fun Palace: The Mothershed!

The BFI – Future Film presents…Raw Shorts: Painting with Light – Texture, Colour and Tone.


‘Directors of photography and lighting experts will be joining us this month as Raw Shorts examines principals of digital cinematography that you can apply to your short filmmaking.’

Quite a few of the Mothershed team invaded the Southbank on the 6th September to attend this workshop which is part of the BFI’s fantastic Raw Shorts programme.  It was really fun to spend the day together not discussing budgets and schedules – for once!


The event started with a general overview of cinematography and the effects it can have on film. The panel was made up of a director, a DOP and another writer/director.

I found the talk really interesting. As a short film-maker the look of film is something I’m interested in. I think this permeates into the scripts I write but the workshop made me address how I’m going to take a more active role in establishing this in future. The clips played in the session showed how effective use of colour, tone and grading can establish or enhance the mood of a film. It was good to think about for the Mothershed. We want the Watershed to feel different from how it normally does so colouring will be a good element to think about.


We then divided into two groups. The second half of the event which was all about lighting. One group (which included Ewa, Hayley, Jas and Rosanna) watched a director demonstrate how to use lighting to make a recycled structure appear like a space ship – how fortuitous! Lolo and I joined a group in another room and listened to a DOP explain how lighting is used to achieve different effects.


We then got to try our hand at lighting other members of the group to look like  old oil paintings – ours didn’t look nearly as good as the originals.

This focus on lighting was really interesting. Both Rosanna and I had attended the FindingFela Opening Afrobeat party the night before. While the event had had a great buzz and the music was swinging, we both commented on how the bright lighting in the box office became a mood-killer when you entered the building and risked spoiling the exciting vibe of the evening.

We’re really going to have to think about this for The Mothershed. We want people to feel as though they are entering a space-ship from the moment they walk through the Watershed’s doors. Hannah Higginson had also recently voiced her own opinions to us about how lighting can make a huge difference to the feel of an event… So now we know a few tricks, we’re definitely going to take these and infuse them into the event.

After the talks we had a much deserved beer together. It was a great trip!



Fun palaces